In the past days, the budget for DSM has been debated. According to Senior Communications Manager Ryan Mueksch, student media was given 80 percent of its budget until further notice depending on the pandemic situation.
“I was told that all budget managers, including Nathaniel [Wilson] for DSM, now have 80 percent of their budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year. This has potential to increase depending on COVID and the university's financial situation in the spring semester. Nathaniel should have received a message from Jason Cottam on Oct. 14 that outlines this,” Mueksch said.
Shortly after sending this message, Mueksch sent a follow-up, saying the student media budget was at 60 percent of the usual amount.
“Budget managers had their budgets initially cut to 60 percent because of COVID and the budget prioritization process. The DSM budget, along with all others, were restored in the most recent iteration by the percentages outlined in the latest budget memo sent to the budget managers,” Mueksch said.
Days later, student media was informed that the budget had not been cut at all, but rather the amount derived from student fees remained unchanged by Director of Budget Jason Cottam after Nathaniel Wilson, assistant professor of practice communications, reached out regarding the budget.
“At the beginning of the semester when I first noticed the significant decrease in allocated Student Fees, I asked Pedro [Maligo] to speak with Julie [Schmidt] about why the allocation was lower than in the past and if the money would be increasing. The answer I was given was that Doane does not guarantee Student Fee allocations and that there was a chance the amount would increase after the Board approved the budget,” Wilson said in the email to Cottam. “After the budget increases were announced and the Owl's budget did not increase, I began conversations with Meaghan [Editor-in-Chief] about finding cost-saving measures. She asked me for the exact budget amount and the quotation in the article comes from my email response to her.”
Cottam informed Wilson that the numbers were only for the fall semester and that the second half of the budget would be given at the beginning of the spring semester.
“The total collected in 2019-2020 for this line item was $42,471, this includes both fall and spring semesters,” Cottam said. “For 2020-2021, we have only posted the fall semester so far. These postings have been at $22/student. To date for 2020-2021 we have posted a total of $21,661 as is shown in your attachment. This is roughly 50 percent of the total posted for 19-20. When the spring semester 20-21 posts, you should see roughly the same amount as 19-20.”
No information on this change in protocol was given to anyone within student media until after the previous article on the budget issues came out and gained traction. After changing the story of why the budget was so low multiple times, the student media’s budget will be close to the same amount as it has been in previous years.
There has been no official change to Doane’s recommendation to cut the DSM budget and discontinue paying student-workers.